|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Unit - 20
Lesson - 2008: Completion of the Teaching
By Raja Subramaniyan
Lord Krishna concludes his teaching by summarizing the contents of the Vedas as follows:
Setting the goal: Joyful Living
All the human beings want to be happy all the time and no one wants to be unhappy anytime during their lifetime. In other words, every human being wants to avoid all the negative emotions like sorrow, anger, anxiety, worry, frustration, boredom and such and live joyfully.
The only purpose of Vedas is to guide the human beings to achieve this goal. Vedas provide this guidance in two stages.
Stage 1: Teaching the 'Right' and the 'Wrong', through the first part of the Vedas, Vedapoorva, in the following four steps.
Step 1: Work hard in Material pursuit
The first part of Vedas recommends, material pursuit, as a method to achieve the above stated goal of all the human beings. It is not possible to live like animals if one wants to reach the goal of joyful living.
Step 2: Follow Dharma and avoid Adharma
The first part of the Vedas also teaches the human beings the right and wrong ways of working, while progressing towards their goal. It says clearly that the mindless pursuit of material prosperity without adhering to the principles of Dharma will defeat the purpose. Negative emotions will invariably haunt a person who does Adharma in life. Therefore, it is not possible to reach the goal of joyful living if Dharma is violated.
Step 3: Do Good Actions and Avoid Bad Actions
In addition to pursuing material goals, human beings are advised to help others and not hurt anyone. This will enhance the possibility of reaching the goal of Joyful Living faster.
Step 4: Surrender to God
One should believe in the all powerful God and pray to Him while doing his work. He should make offerings to God to acknowledge the fact that without Him it is not possible to survive and prosper in this world.
Through the above four steps, one is advised to work towards the goal of Joyful Living. The happiness that comes through material gains is limited. Whatever be the extent of progress one makes in material pursuit, it is not possible to achieve complete satisfaction. Man will continue to feel insufficient. This knowledge is expected to be gained by human beings through experience by following the above four steps in the first stage.
The purpose of the first part of the Vedas is to offer a sample of happiness that is potentially inherent in us. But for these recommendations, human beings would have remained like animals. By offering them fleeting happiness, Vedas attract human beings into action. This sharpens their intelligence making them eligible for the next stage.
Stage 2: Teaching the 'Real' and the 'False', through the second part of the Vedas, Vedanta, in the following three steps.
As a human being progress through the first stage, comprising of the four steps, slowly it dawns upon him that it is impossible to reach his goal of joyful living through material pursuit. Then he is ready to assimilate the following steps taught in the Vedanta.
Step 1: Karma Yoga
No significant change in the external activities is suggested in this step. One should continue his Material Pursuit but with the right attitude. Earlier, one was working with an objective of correcting the environment so that he can reach his goal of joyful living. Now, after realizing the futility of the prosperity, one should continue the very same set of activities with the focus on correcting one's own mind and not the environment.
It is recommended that one take up a Chosen Profession that suits his aptitude, skill and capability. He should try to achieve perfection in work without attaching any importance to the results of his actions.
Step 2: Upasana Yoga
One should spend time to refine the mind through meditation. In addition, one should completely surrender to God. During the first stage only a part of the earnings were offered to God. Now, the entire work is done as worship. The ego has to completely surrender to God.
After attaining the required level of mental maturity through Karma Yoga and mental focus through Upasana Yoga, one must abandon all the actions in material pursuit and spend time and effort on learning the essence of Vedanta.
Step 3: Jnana Yoga
This is the final step where one learns the central message of the Vedanta from a competent teacher. Once he learns 'I am Brahman', one is liberated.
Life will become joyful. The goal is reached.
Thus, through the above seven steps, all the human beings are guided towards their goal of Joyful Living.
After summarizing the teaching of the Vedas, Lord Krishna gives the complete freedom to Arjuna to decide on his future course of action. Lord Krishna did not give any commandments on what needs to be done. After giving the complete teaching, the student is expected to act according to his level of understanding.
The only purpose of the existence of Vedas is to guide the human beings into freedom. Therefore, Vedas do not bind an individual to follow the teachings provided therein by providing list of dos and don'ts. It is left to the discretion of the student. It depends on what he wants in life. Vedas, clearly states the link between the action and results. Everyone will get what he deserves.
While every human being wants to live joyfully, some of them do not have the intelligence to know that joyful living is their goal. They are free to act without paying any attention to Vedas. As and when they identify their goal in life as Joyful Living, they can take the guidance from Vedas.
Since Arjuna is highly intelligent and has trust in the words of Lord Krishna, he could see the meaning of the highest secret revealed in the Vedas. Therefore, Lord Krishna gives him the freedom of deciding his future course of action.
Lord Krishna concludes the teaching by saying that there is no need to grieve, which was his opening statement at the time of commencement of the teaching.
Lord Krishna highlights the importance of this teaching and says that this should not be revealed to those who do not have trust in Vedas. He also praises those teachers who spread this knowledge to the deserving students.
Chapter 18: Science of liberation [Verses: 63 - 78]
18.63 Thus, I have explained to you the most secret of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.
18.64 Because you are My very dear friend, I am telling this most secret knowledge. Hear the ending summary again from Me, for it is for your benefit.
18.65 Worship Me and surrender unto Me. Always think of Me in all your actions. Thus, you will reach Me without fail. I promise you this because you are dear to Me.
18.66 Having renounced all actions, surrender yourself to Me, the non dual. I shall liberate you from all sins. Do not grieve.
18.67 This secret knowledge may not be explained to those who are without austerity, nor devoted, nor desirous of hearing, nor to one who criticizes Me.
18.68 With supreme devotion towards Me, he who explains this supreme secret to My devotees shall reach Me alone. There is no doubt.
18.69 Moreover such a person who serves me is dearer to Me than anyone else, nor will there ever be one more dear.
18.70 And I declare that he who studies and understands this sacred conversation, through his intelligence is worshiping Me.
18.71 Even that person who merely listens this with faith and without criticizing becomes free from sins. He shall attain the sacred worlds belonging to the planets where the pious dwell.
18.72 Oh Arjuna, have you heard this attentively with one-pointed mind? Has your delusion born of Matter, gone completely?
18.73 Arjuna said, Oh Lord, my delusion is now gone. I have gained the knowledge by Your grace, and I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.
18.74 Sanjaya said, thus, I heard this wonderful and thrilling dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna.
18.75 By the mercy of Vyasa, I have heard this supreme secret directly from the master of all, Lord Krishna himself, who was speaking personally to Arjuna.
18.76 Oh King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I rejoice, being thrilled at every moment.
18.77 Oh King, when I remember the wonderful form of Lord Krishna, I am struck with even greater wonder, and I rejoice again and again.
18.78 Wherever there is Lord Krishna and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.
OM TAT SAT